Centrosomes and cancer

Biol Cell. 1999 Jul;91(6):451-60.


The centrosome functions as the major microtubule organizing center (MTOC) of the cell and as such it determines the number, polarity, and organization of interphase and mitotic microtubules. Cytoplasmic organization, cell polarity and the equal partition of chromosomes into daughter cells at the time of cell division are all dependent on the normal function of the centrosome and on its orderly duplication, once and only once, in each cell cycle. Malignant tumor cells show characteristic defects in cell and tissue architecture and in chromosome number that can be attributed to inappropriate centrosome behavior during tumor progression. In this review, we will summarize recent observations linking centrosome defects to disruption of normal cell and tissue organization and to chromosomal instability found in malignant tumors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aneuploidy
  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Centrosome / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*